Dedalus Book of Absinthe

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Gilbert's Girl
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Dedalus Book of Absinthe

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sun Apr 02, 2006 2:38 am

Sunday April 2, 2006
The Observer


The Dedalus Book of Absinthe by Phil Baker (Dedalus £6.99)
Now popular with cocktail-drinking northerners, stag night fans in Prague and Johnny Depp, absinthe was once 'the genius of those who didn't have any genius of their own, but the death of any real genius for those who did'. The spirit was wildly popular in France in the 1880s and 90s and figured large in the lives and works of artists and writers. Toulouse Lautrec, van Gogh, Wilde, Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine were all noted absinthe drinkers until, variously debilitated and unhinged, each died prematurely. It led to physical and moral degradation and psychosis, and was even blamed for the loss of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian war; it was eventually prohibited in France in 1915. Phil Baker has a marvellously humorous turn of phrase, and his book is hugely enjoyable

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Re: Dedalus Book of Absinthe

Unread postby suec » Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:11 am

Gilbert's Girl wrote:Sunday April 2, 2006
The Observer


Toulouse Lautrec, van Gogh, Wilde, Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine were all noted absinthe drinkers until, variously debilitated and unhinged, each died prematurely. It led to physical and moral degradation and psychosis, and was even blamed for the loss of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian war; it was eventually prohibited in France in 1915.


I'm not surprised it was prohibited if it did all that; that is quite an achievement :-O I've tried it only once, in a certain Ten Bells pub (well, it just had to be done). I only managed one sip. I thought it was horrible stuff. So - one more thing that I ddn't have in common with those named above. Interesting tidbit. Thanks!
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Re: Dedalus Book of Absinthe

Unread postby dharma_bum » Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:43 pm

suec wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:Toulouse Lautrec, van Gogh, Wilde, Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine were all noted absinthe drinkers until, variously debilitated and unhinged, each died prematurely. It led to physical and moral degradation and psychosis, and was even blamed for the loss of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian war; it was eventually prohibited in France in 1915.


I'm not surprised it was prohibited if it did all that; that is quite an achievement :-O

I wonder... Absinthe slightly over 70% alcohol and abusing it may certainly bring an end to you quicker than other liquor. Toulouse Lautrec, van Gogh, Wilde, Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine all led outlaw lives at odds with society, and their personal battles for authenticity and truth most likely took a toll equal to anything they ingested.

The real truth about absinthe, and why France first banned it (followed by most of Western World), was that it posed an economic threat to the wine industry. Absinthe was the cheaper than wine, and the working masses in the first wave of the industrial revolution (as well as starving artists and writers) found it a quick and effective way to drown their misery.

Oscar Wilde said of absinthe: “After the first glass you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally you see things as they rally are, and that is most horrible thing in the world.”

I have had absinthe (smuggled from Spain as “olive oil”) on several occasions and experienced a high that was slightly different from alcohol—although not the transcendent high OW and others talk about. They say the trick is to sip and let the hallucinogenic qualities of wormwood take effect before the alcohol gets you drunk. The ritual among friends—infusing, flaming and dousing the sugar cube—makes for an interesting evening… but you do need like the taste of licorice at least a little.
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:46 pm

So it tastes like licorice? I was wondering. Not a fan. :yuck:
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:53 am

I've noticed that you either really like licorice or you hate it. I happen to like it. :cool:
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Unread postby gilly » Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:23 am

Thanks,GG :disco: I might have known there was an economic/monopoly reason for it's being banned :-O Did you ever get your olive oil and absinthe mixed up,db ? :capnjack: Fried chips and absinthe :-O
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